Marketing for Followers of Jesus

You will hear two conflicting stories about marketing and Christianity. One says that you can’t be in business and still be a Christian. The other says the free market is the only Godly economic system (always contrasted against communism).

I think there’s better way. We shouldn’t vilify marketing or idolize it. We need to redeem it.

Marketing Chaos & Disorder

Marketing promotes chaos
Our Lord is the God of order and peace, but many marketing courses, systems, and principles teach neither of those. Instead, marketing seeks to manipulate people and cast them off once they have served their purpose.
Marketing promotes disorder
When God created the world, He called it good. Can the same be said of your latest marketing campaign? Did you have the best interests of your customer in mind? Did you treat them like the images of God that they are? Typical marketing creates a world of disorder, preying on the weak and treating people as a means to the end of money.
Marketing can be redeemed
Despite the worst practices on display, we believe that God can redeem marketing. Business doesn’t need to be focused on money or “customer obsessed” to be good. Nothing is beyond God’s redeeming reach and we believe that He can transform the corrupt system of economics, bringing it in line with His Kingdom. We believe that God partners with us, believing business owners and marketers to do this.

The Two Ways of “Christian Marketing”

The folly of Christian Marketing
There are two prominent ways of thinking about marketing as a Christian. One says you can’t do it, that Christians can’t participate in the system without being corrupted by it. The other says the system is good and we should embrace it.
Both are wrong.
Marketing (Capitalism) is evil
Is marketing evil? Is capitalism? For certain, it’s certainly not the Kingdom of God in display. But the Bible doesn’t tell us to avoid the world or shun people, it says to be in the world. To be a light. Jesus didn’t avoid the world but lived in it, participated in it. He redeemed it, not just on the cross but through his everyday interactions.
Marketing is GOOD
Are the free markets and capitalism from the Lord? Are they part of the Kingdom of God? Hardly. When we raised up the things of this world to an idol, they end up controlling us and ultimately destroying us. Capitalism and the free markets don’t value people as images of God, they value goods and property. That is not the heart of God. The good news? We are called to redeem free markets and Capitalism and bring them in line with God’s Kingdom!

Principles of Redeemed Marketing

God can redeem marketing
Here’s the question: How do you practice marketing in a world hell-bent on destroying people in the quest for more? You practice the way of Jesus and partner with Him to redeem marketing.
In other words, you market your business and products the way Jesus would if He were you.
Principle 1: Images of God
Customers are people, they are not a means your ends of money, wealth, or power. They are not idols or slaves.
Principle 2: Surrender
You can’t control much in this world, and you weren’t meant to. You can’t control the process of buying or the customers who buy. You must surrender control to God.
Principle 3: Anti-Mammon
We fight against the dark principality of the age that says you need more to be complete.
Principle 4: Abundance
We don’t use scarcity or negative foreshadowing to manipulate. We don’t agitate or stir the pot in order to make customers feel less secure and therefore more likely to buy.
Principle 5: Plain language
Let your yes be yes and your non be no. We say no more than we need to and certainly nothing that could lead to stretching the truth. We tell it like it is.
Principle 6: Stories
We spend time to tell honest stories and craft meaningful metaphors, not to persuade or manipulate but to connect.
Principle 7: Eternal mindset
We can’t be out for a quick buck, instead we are building treasure in heaven and participating in the Kingdom of God.
Principle 8: Ask
The language of the Kingdom is the question, not the ultimatum or coercion. We invite, we don’t trick or cajole.
Principle 9: Trust
We don’t put trust in our ability or even in others, we trust that God is good and as we walk in righteousness He has already blessed us.